Matt Cain is one of baseball’s most underrated pitchers. He quietly goes about his business without all the media attention, but he deserves more respect from the fans outside of San Francisco.
Here are two reasons why he should win the Cy Young award.
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He’s One of the Most Consistent Starting Pitchers in the League
Matt Cain has always been one of the most consistent starters in the league. He’s pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last five seasons, and he has yet to suffer a major injury (knock on wood). Cain takes the ball every five days, and the Giants place a heavy burden on him to give their offense a chance to win the game, and the longest tenured Giants never seems to let them down.
In 2012, Cain has had just one outing where he has given up more than four runs. That’s something that very few pitchers able are to achieve, and it tells you how consistent he really is. If the Giants were ever able to put a legitimate offense around Cain he could quite possibly have 150 wins by now, but up to this point it has been Barry Bonds and that’s it.
However in 2012, the Giants offense has picked him up and that’s why he sports a 7-2 record. All he needs is three runs. Cain is 6-0 this year in games where he garners three or more runs of run support and his career marks are no different. He has a 35-21 lifetime record when his offense scratches out at least three runs for him, but when he is only provided with less than three runs his overall career record is 11-52.
He Is one of the Best Pitchers in the League with Runners in Scoring Position
Matt Cain just seems to get stronger and stronger when runners are on base. You can nab him as one of the most clutch pitchers in the game because there are very few better than Cain when it comes to limiting the damage, let alone allowing any damage.
With runners in scoring position (RISP), opposing batters are hitting just (.139) off Cain, a mark which is among the league’s best. However, what’s even more impressive is his ability to perform at an even higher level in tenser situations, what could be the turning point in the game. With RISP and two outs, opposing hitters are hitting just (.167) off Cain, a mark that is top five in the National League.
How is he so clutch in these crucial situations, though?
Well, Cain isn’t typically a strikeout pitcher, but with runners in scoring position he transforms into an entirely different pitcher. With RISP, whether it be two outs or one out, Cain will go off his track record and pitch for the punch-out. I say this like it’s rare to see Cain pitch for strikeouts, but it’s true, he will only pitch for them when he absolutely has to. And because he is so dominant with RISP, he boasts a top five strikeout (82) total this season.